The languages category features all of our blog posts relating to languages around the world. We post on topics and news about languages and people.

European parliament, English not official language after Brexit

English not an official language after Brexit

European parliament, English not official language after Brexit

European parliament hemicycle in Strasbourg / Image credit: Wikipedia

English not official language, MEP warns

According to a senior MEP, English will not be an official EU language after Brexit.

English could lose its status as an official language as apparently no other EU country has English listed as an official language.

Onced Britain leaves the EU, English will be stripped of its status warned Danuta Hübner. Hübner, an economist, is head of the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee (AFCO).

There are 24 official languages in the EU; the UK identified English as it own official language while Ireland notified Irish and Malta notified Maltese. Both countries also list English as their second official language. However, when Ireland and Malta joined the EU English was already an official language. Therefore both nations opted to list their other official languages instead.

We have a regulation … where every EU country has the right to notify one official language. The Irish have notified Gaelic, and the Maltese have notified Maltese, so you have only the UK notifying English.

Even though English may be removed as an official language, “English is one of the working languages in the European institutions, Hübner commented, adding: “it’s actually the dominating language.” It’s one of the most frequently used by EU civil servants.

If they want to keep English as an official language, the remaining countries would have vote to keep its status unanimously, Hübner noted.

EU Regulations

However, an EU source explained that the regulations governing official languages are themselves subject to more than one translation.

A regulation from 1958 regarding the official languages of the EU, was originally written in French and does not clearly state whether a member country, i.e. Ireland or Malta, can have more than one official language.

Interpretations of the French wording of this body of text concludes that this might be possible, whereas the English version says otherwise.

The regulation states that “if a member state has more than one official language, the language to be used shall, at the request of such state, be governed by the general rules of its law.”

According to reports from the Wall Street Journal, ‘the Commission has already started using French and German more often in its external communications’, after the UK voted to leave the EU last Thursday.

The STAR Team

Source: Politico EU

Gaeltacht sign in An Ghaeltacht

English translations anger Gaeltacht

Gaeltacht sign in An Ghaeltacht

An Ghaeltacht sign in the region / Image credit: TCD

Gaeltacht community anger over names in English

In a 2015 annual report by the Irish Language Commissioner, the highest number of complaints under the new Eircode postal system related to the translation of place names in the Gaeltacht region.

Rónán Ó Domhnaill, head of the office of An Coimisnéir Teanga expressed that he was not surprised at the level of anger in the Gaeltacht communities. More than 70 complaints were noted in the report. All complaints related to the English translation of Irish names and addresses without any Irish version.

Conradh na Gaeilge, the Irish language group, stated that up to 50,000 household in the Gaeltacht area are affected by the new system and called on the department to amend it.

Rónán Ó Domhnaill also reported that the Department of Communications had ‘breached a statutory language obligation during the rollout of the postcodes – Eircode’.

Irish Proficiency

As of today’s report, there is a reluctance on behalf of certain government departments to identify jobs requiring a proficiency in the Irish language. Mr Ó Domhnaill stated on the ‘serious questions that arise on the State’s willingness to provide services of the same standard in both languages’.

Source: RTÉ News

The STAR Team

STAR Translation Services logo

New Languages Supported in Transit NXT Service Pack 9

Transit NXT Service Pack 9
Transit NXT Service Pack 9 ushers new languages to its arsenal

New Languages Supported in SP9

The new Transit NXT Service Pack 9 ushered in loads of new features.

As the localization industry grows, we grow along with it and enhance Transit NXT each time to suit the requirements of the industry.

One of the most important aspects of translation is being able to translate projects to and from one’s language; not just for the translator but the project manager too. SP9 packs loads of new languages in which you can now work. Gone are the days that you no longer have to depend on variants if your language was not supported; start working in one of the new languages now supported by Transit.

Eight Additional Languages

Transit supports eight additional languages and language variants. Furthermore, both Transit NXT and TermStar support more than 200 languages and cover all relevant markets in the target languages.

Asian languages: Tajik, Pashto and Dari (Persian); Maori (New Zealand); Spanish (USA) and International Spanish variants; and two other European languages are all the latest additions to Transit NXT SP9.

Language selection drop-down menu in Transit NXT
Screenshot of the source language [selection] drop-down menu in Transit.

New Asian Languages in SP9

Tajik (تاجیکی)
Tajik or Tajiki, also called Tajiki Persian is a variety of Persian spoken in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Pashto (پښتو)
Pashto belongs to the south-eastern Iranian branch of Indo-Iranian languages spoken in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran.
Dari (دری‎‎)
Dari (Persian) is the variety of the Persian language spoken in Afghanistan.

New European Languages in SP9

Breton
Breton (Breton: Breizh; French: Bretagne) is a Celtic language spoken in Brittany, France.
Corsican
Spoken in the islands of Corsica (France) and northern Sardinia (Italy), Corsican is a Romance language of the Italo-Dalmatian subfamily.

Introducing Maori for SP9

Maori
An Eastern Polynesian language spoken by the Māori people – the indigenous population of New Zealand – Māori is one of the official languages of New Zealand since 1987.

Spanish Worldwide

Spanish (USA)
One of the most widely spoken language has a number of variants – Spanish (USA) being one.
International Spanish
Use Spanish (International) for standardizing particular Spanish language projects.

The STAR Team

The Ultimate Language Quiz by STAR Translation

Take the Ultimate Language Quiz

The Ultimate Language Quiz

Test your knowledge of world languages. Answer these twelve, tricky language-related questions and let us know your score in the comments.

The STAR Team

Pikachu in Hong Kong

Pikachu rename angers Hong Kong

Pikachu in Hong Kong
Pikachu toys line the shelves – its worldwide success expands from video games to other merchandise

Pokémon Pikachu rename leads to protests

The release of two new Pokémon games by Japanese game-maker Nintendo has angered Hong Kong.

As it is around the world, Hong Kongers are very familiar with the tiny, chubby, yellow-furred electric mouse known to them as Bei-Ka-Ciu. But a move to unify the names of 151 Pokémon characters to Mandarin Chinese has upset fans and “localists” alike.

Pikachu’s new Cantonese pronunciation sounds like Bei-ka-jau – nothing like its original.

Regional Pride

The name change, which may seems trivial to some, is part of a bigger problem in Hong Kong as locals see it as the “mainlandization” in the current climate.

Nintendo’s decision to translate all game characters “ignores Hong Kong’s culture,” a spokesman from a Facebook group known as Petition to keep Regional Chinese Translations of Pokémon said. “There’s no respect for it.”

“We are aware of the reasons behind Nintendo’s translation, presumably to make it easier for purposes such as publicity, but the move ignores a lot of players. We hope the Hong Kong market can be taken seriously and treated sincerely.” Locals, fans and activists took to the streets at the Japanese consulate to protest because they believe Cantonese — along with culture and tradition in Hong Kong — is being supplanted by Mandarin.

Regional Language

Cantonese is spoken in Hong Kong, while Mandarin Chinese is the official tongue of Mainland China. The Chinese government sees Cantonese as one of the many dialects used throughout China; however, those protesting believe Cantonese is a proper language and on par with Mandarin.

A Cultural Icon

“Pikachu has been in Hong Kong for more than 20 years,” said Sing Leung, one of those who took part in the demonstration. “It is not simply a game or comic book, it is the collective memory of a generation.”

Chinese Variants

There are different variants of Chinese depending on region. We offer Chinese translation for all variants.

The STAR Team

Source: BBC World News

Coleslaw and dips, Irish

9 Irish Language Translations, so bad they’re good

9 Hilarious Irish Language Translations

The Irish language is beautiful, but it also finds itself playing catch up with the modern world. So much so that it becomes blatantly obvious with some of these Irish language translations.

We found nine particularly unimaginative translations making their rounds on the Internet. These are too good to miss.

1

Coleslaw, Irish

Very creative.

2

Coleslaw and dips, Irish language translations

Feeling fluent already.

3

This is truly exceptional.

4

Hipster, Irish

The direct approach!

5

Mblíp!

6

Laser, Irish

L.A.S.E.R: light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.

L.É.A.S.A.R: Hmm.

7

Spaghetti, Irish

Keeping it simple.

8

Nua technolaíocht. Wonder what that could mean?

9

Wouldn’t have guessed!

The STAR Team

Source: The Journal

IEDR, Irish Web addresses showing fadas

Web Addresses showing Fadas to Become Reality

IEDR, Irish Web addresses showing fadas
Ireland’s Domain Registry / IEDR website

Irish Registry Domain to make Web Addresses showing Fadas a reality

Organizations and businesses in Ireland will very soon be able to register Irish Web addresses with fadas. This will change will enable Irish businesses using the .ie domain to also include any fadas contained in their names. Effectively, we will see Irish websites’ URLs with the fada included. That is, if their domain is an Irish name or word.

The fada is the acute accent or diacritic above all Irish vowels: á, é, í, ó and ú.

Recently, the IE Domain Registry, responsible for the administration of Ireland’s official Internet address .ie, has begun a consultation process to allow users to share their views about how the system should operate.

The registry will launch details of how people can register the fada domain names after the 21st of March.

We will be on the lookout for any domains using their fadas.

Read our article on 49 Reasons the Fada is Important in Irish

Graham O'Mahony, Blogger and Web Designer
Graham
Web Designer and Blogger
The STAR Team
Follow the conversation on Twitter logo @STARTranslation

Sources: IEDR and The Journal.ie

Mount Elbrus, The Caucasus region

10 Oldest Languages Still Spoken Today

Mount Elbrus, The Caucasus region, 10 oldest languages still spoken today

Mount Elbrus, Europe’s highest mountain in the Caucasus region between Europe and Asia. A region known for its linguistic diversity / Wikipedia

10 Oldest Languages in Use Today

It is almost impossible to judge how old one language is from another. The evolution of language is virtually similar to biological evolution; like evolution, changes to a language happen minutely over the course of generations. However, there is no clearly discernible difference between one language and the next language, from which a language derived.

Despite this, each of the ten languages listed are considerably ancient yet still spoken today. Each with an intriguing history that differentiates it from a multitude of others.

Those 10 Ancient Languages

Hebrew
The Hebrew language is an interesting case on this list: it fell out of common usage circa 400 CE. Yet it remained preserved as a liturgical language for Jews around the world. The rise of Zionism in the 19th and 20th centuries revived the language until it became the official language of Israel. Hebrew speakers can fully understand the Old Testament in its original writings.
Tamil
Spoken by circa 78 million people, Tamil is officially recognized as a language of India, Sri Lanka and Singapore. This classical language has survived the ages. Dating back to the third century BCE, and still in continuous use today.
Lithuanian
Lithuanian, like most European languages, is Indo-European in origin. This group divided up c.3500 BCE. The most fascinating feature of Lithuanian is that it retained the sounds and grammar of its Proto-Indo-European ancestor, unlike that of its cousins.
Farsi
Mainly spoken in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Farsi is actually Persian, a direct descendant of Old Persian. Modern Persian first appeared circa 800 CE. Farsi speakers could quite easily read ancient texts in Persian with relative ease, more fluently than English speakers can read Shakespeare!

Ones you wouldn’t consider ancient

Icelandic
The Scandinavian language Icelandic is an Indo-European language from the North Germanic branch. This ancient language of the Norse peoples developed quite conservatively over the centuries. Amazingly, Icelanders can read their ancient sagas as if they were written yesterday.
Macedonian
This Slavic language belongs to the same family as Russian, Polish, Czech and Croatian. The Slavic language family is relatively young as far as languages are concerned and only split from Proto-Slavic, pre-ninth century CE.
Basque
The Basque language is a linguistic mystery. Spoken in regions that stretch across both France and Spain; it’s also unrelated to the Romance language family. The only explanation to explain it thus far, is that it existed long before the Romans arrived with the Latin they had spoken that subsequently developed into French and Spanish.
Finnish
The Finnish language is a member of the Finno-Ugric family which includes Estonian, Hungarian and several languages in minority groups across Siberia. Written down in the 16th century, its history is long. Interestingly, Finnish has many loanwords still in usage from Old Germanic and Gothic (those two languages do not exist today).
Georgian
Georgian is spoken in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, originating from the Caucasus region, the frontier between Europe and Asia. It’s part of the Kartvelian language family and unlike any other in the world. Although its alphabet is thought to be adapted from Aramaic.

Last but not least

Irish Gaelic
A minority of people in Ireland speak Irish (Gaeilge) today, but its history is long and artistic. A member of the Celtic branch of Indo-European languages, it existed long before the Germanic influences of Norse, Anglo-Saxon and Frisian landed on the British Isles. Scottish Gaelic and Manx derived from Irish Gaelic through migration. With the oldest vernacular of any language in Western Europe, the ancient Irish chose to write their manuscripts in Gaelic rather than the common Latin, at that time.
Graham O'Mahony, Blogger and Web Designer
Graham
Web Designer and Blogger
The STAR Team
Follow the conversation on Twitter logo @STARTranslation

Source: The Culture Trip

Robot Teachers, Language Tutors

Robot Teachers, Language Tutors

Robot Teachers, Language Tutors

Children Learn Languages with Robot Teachers

Across Europe, robots are helping young immigrant children learn new language skills necessary for social integration and education. It is tough for anyone to cope with moving to a new country and different culture, which is one of the reasons a team of robotics engineers decided to test out their robot teachers.

The youngsters are learning new language skills to help them enter the school system. Only four cities are taking part in the trial phase: Tilburg and Utrecht in the Netherlands; Bielefeld in Germany; Istanbul in Turkey. Lead by a consortium of roboticists and linguists from universities across Europe, the project is called L2TOR while a French company called Aldebaran Robotics build the new teachers.

A robot called NAO watches over the children and aids them in the lessons while the work on a tablet. Before each lesson begins, NAO explains to the kids what they will learn and then assists each child if they become struck by observing their body language.

“We want to help these children improve their language skills through one-to-one interaction with a robot, to help them catch up,” — Paul Vogt (L2TOR), Tilburg University, The Netherlands.

Other studies have shown that children learn best in a one-on-one environment rather than a classroom setting. But doing this with human teachers is highly prohibitive due to costs. The L2TOR project will not replace teachers rather, they will give each child a tangible three-dimensional presence to learn more effectively along a human teacher.

Infinite Patience

The NAO robots can repeat lessons over and over and take their time with each child; human teachers can become impatient and get bored. These psychological factors that affect humans cannot affect the robots.

“Sometimes the human teacher can get bored or angry by repeating things again and again,” — Amit Kumar Pandey, head of research and development at Aldebaran Robotics

But it’s not just the children that learn. On the tablets is a software system, CoWriter which helps children practice their writing skills. The robot can write on the tablet too, but if the robot makes a mistake the child can step in and teach the robot where it went wrong.

Is this the future of learning at school? Let us know what you think.

Source: New Scientist

Graham O'Mahony, Blogger and Web Designer
Graham
Web Designer and Blogger
The STAR Team
Follow the conversation on Twitter logo @STARTranslation
421 Scots' words for snow

Great Scots! 421 Words for Snow

421 Scots' words for snow

There’s Snow Stopping the Scots!

It has been documented that the Inuits of Greenland, and parts of Alaska, have more than 50 words for snow, but recently we discovered that the Scots have 421 words for snow. You might think that northerly countries like Iceland or Greenland have more words for snow given their freezing temperatures, but the Scots reign supreme for more ways to describe the light, white stuff.

Academics at the University of Glasgow started a project to compile a thesaurus of Scots words. The Historical Thesaurus of Scots is the first of its kind and is being published online. The team of researchers has appealed to the public to send in their own words. They’re even accepting images to illustrate Scots words in all categories.

Always About Weather

Weather and Sport were the first two categories to gain the most entries when the thesaurus was set-up. The game of marbles overtook football for the most synonyms — a staggering 369 words.

“Weather has been a vital part of people’s lives in Scotland for centuries. The number and variety of words in the language show how important it was for our ancestors to communicate about the weather, which could so easily affect their livelihoods.”

“You might expect sports like football and golf to loom large in the thesaurus, but it turns out that there are actually more words relating to marbles – which is an indication of how popular the game has been with generations of Scottish children”, states Dr Susan Rennie, lecturer in English and Scots language at the University of Glasgow.

Other elements of weather like clouds and mist have many entries in the thesaurus.

Some Scots words for Snow

  • snaw — snow
  • snawie — snowy
  • blin-drift — drifting snow
  • skovin — a large snowflake
  • flindrikin — a slight snow shower
  • flukra — snow falling in large flakes
  • spitters — small drops or flakes of wind-driven snow and rain

View all the words and images online at scotsthesaurus.org and follow them on Twitter @scotsthesaurus.

Graham,
The STAR Team